A few months ago I had the chance to go on an impromptu trip to Paris with a couple of mom friends. It was a very relaxed and lacking in scheduling kind of a trip – a fabulous break from momming and exactly what we all needed! Because we kept it all so low key, the below is my very relaxed guide to what we did…. we didn’t even scratch the surface of what Paris has to offer, but it was so fun nevertheless.
After a very pleasant (albeit so early….) start on the Eurostar, we checked into the Plaza Tour Eiffel. Like most Parisian hotels, it is small (39 rooms and 2 junior suites) in all respects – I think it would be VERY tight to fit a portacot or baby bed in any of the rooms but it’s a great place to rest your head after a long day of checking out all the city has to offer. It is also close to a Metro station which makes it super convenient if arriving by Eurostar.
First stop – lunch at Le Malakoff! Probably not the most authentic of French brasseries, but the food was good, there were some nice traditional options, and you could see the Eiffel Tower 🙂
Second stop – the obligatory shot of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero. It was an absolutely freezing day (wind chill made it feel like -5 degrees!) but it’s hard to take away from this view, day or night!
After a wander along the Seine, we decided to stop off for a glass of wine to warm up, and to get out of the way of the ‘yellow jacket’ protest route. It was quite the experience to see the French riot police all geared up and so many streets cordoned off. It seemed like a very disruptive exercise for local retailers, but no one seemed too fussed! Cafe Varenne was a charming place to while away a couple of hours… If you’re in the area, Bobine is a super cute kids store right across the street.
While in Cafe Varenne, we met a local who recommended that we try Le Basilic for an authentic dinner. It was delicious! Great food and wine, nice location (once we’d talked our way past the police and promised to only have dinner and come straight back!) and I’d definitely return.
Next day, it was time to try and see more of the city.
Climbing the Arc d’Triomphe was a great way to see so much of the city. There are two levels of exhibits to explore, some audiovisual materials and a surprisingly cute gift shop. And of course, that 360 degree view which, unlike viewing platforms in other some cities, really lets you orientate yourself.
After a stroll, it was time for lunch. And oh boy did we lunch….Comptoir des Frangines really came through – we had to wait about 30 minutes for a table but it was TOTALLY worth it. Over the weekends they do a set menu brunch and I’d have it any day of the week.
In the interests of doing another activity we went wine-tasting at the Caves du Louvre… Full disclosure, I am a big fan of wine-tasting! But this I would do only if you found a discount code (which we did – Groupon had a deal for reduced price entry and a free bottle of wine!), as it is tiny tiny and a bit….strange… but the catacomb-style venue was pretty cool and the wine is A-OK. You can also get a bottle of wine with your face on it, which was a nice souvenir.
A little more wandering around, including a stop for an obligatory photo at the Louvre, and it was time for dinner!
We found our way to Les Deux Palais for drinks (the staff were just unreal here, so kind), and L’Acanthe for dinner. Both slightly random choices but filled with locals and the perfect way to round off a food and drink-based weekend that just reminded me of everything I want to see in Paris… time to plan the next trip!